AMZN vs WMT Weekly: new devices and healthcare
The Amazon ecosystem has grown a bit this week with a slew of new products and services, most of which are linked by a voice consumers have grown accustomed to hearing over the past seven years: Alexa.
See: Amazon Announces Home Robot, Ring Drone, Elderly Care Service, “Hey, Disney”, More
With new upgrades and services, the voice assistant can now help care for older parents, entertain children, regulate temperatures in the home and keep digital content in a convenient place, moving Amazon and Alexa, a no more to a ubiquitous source of assistance for all aspects of life. Already, Alexa would have a 68% share of the voice AI market.
Read more: Amazon relies on Alexa to connect to “all aspects of consumer life”
But perhaps most exciting – and most notable – was the introduction of Astro, a home robot that has many of the same features as Alexa and is able to navigate around obstacles. In five to seven years, Amazon predicts, every household will have at least one robot, and with Astro, he hopes to be among the first to walk out the door.
The e-commerce giant noted, however, that Astro is more than just an Alexa on wheels – Astro has its own personality and a “multitude of sounds,” Amazon said, which helps the device come to life.
As Karen Webster wrote last month, voice operating systems like Alexa will power the connected economy, and with the expansion of its platform and voice-activated devices, Amazon is likely trying to secure. its domination over Apple’s Google Assistant or Siri.
Read: Voice operating systems like Alexa will power the connected economy: here’s why
Eric Turkington, vice president of growth at voice and conversational technology company RAIN, told PYMNTS in a recent interview, however, that he believes Amazon is already one step ahead due to its dominance of the world. e-commerce.
“It’s not just an offshoot that could have been developed by another company,” he said. “I think part of Alexa’s long game is how it can help make shopping through Amazon easier.”
Advance healthcare ambitions
Walmart this week partnered with the health records platform Epic, used by more than 2,000 hospitals and 45,000 clinics across the United States, to create a portal through which Walmart Health members and professionals health services can access medical records and patient histories, a major step in the can expanding chain of stores for its health services.
The portal is expected to initially roll out to four new Walmart health centers in Florida early next year before expanding nationwide. Walmart currently operates in-store health clinics in parts of Arkansas, Georgia, and Illinois.
Read more: Walmart Health Teams with Epic on Patient Records Portal
CEO Doug McMillon has previously said he sees an important role for Walmart in helping customers manage their health and well-being beyond just building in-store clinics, although this is a major component.
“This is how we put it all together, from telehealth and the role that home health care plays, on mobile devices, to the way you sort out a customer when they start interacting with you and directing them to. the place to get the right care at the right time, ”he told analysts on a conference call in August.
Walmart + will also likely play a role in bringing food and health care together as the subscription service grows, McMillon said, although the proper privacy protections need to be in place.
“A lot of health is really determined by the social determinants of health, a big part of which is what you consume,” John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart US, said on the conference call. “Being able to have access to fresh food at home as part of the program is really important. “
McMillon said Walmart will need time to execute the full plan because of how local health care is, but “the strategy is becoming clearer to us. The pieces are on the table.
Amazon, of course, is entering the healthcare space, expanding its telehealth platform, Amazon Care, to all employees across the country over the summer and signing other companies to use the service. . In July, Amazon Web Services (AWS) also made Amazon HealthLake, a HIPAA-eligible platform for healthcare and life science businesses, available to more businesses; HealthLake is part of AWS for Health, which is an in-depth collection of AWS services and AWS Partner Network offerings used by healthcare and life sciences customers.
Read also : AWS Expands Amazon HealthLake Availability
And, of course, the Amazon Halo expansion this week comes on top of the e-commerce company’s consumer health and wellness offerings in ways Walmart has yet to do. In addition to a new device, Amazon introduced Halo Nutrition, a platform to help develop healthy eating habits, and Halo Fitness, a new service with hundreds of studio-quality workout classes similar to Apple Fitness +.
“Customers tell us that Halo has a significant impact on their lives, providing important information and tools they need to achieve their health goals,” Melissa Cha, vice president of Amazon Halo, said in a statement. . “We’re excited to add even more to Halo, with new experiences to help members work and nourish their bodies.”
Read more: Amazon Halo expansion could disrupt the connected fitness space